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Maintenance mechanic electrocuted while touching damaged power cord, December 22, 1988.

Morgantown, WV: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, FACE 89-19, 1989 Mar; :1-5
A 37 year old male maintenance mechanic was electrocuted when he grasped a power cord with damaged insulation and contacted an exposed energized conductor. The employer, a meat packing facility with 1500 employees, had a formal safety program with written safety policies and procedures. It was standard practice at the site to unplug the two strapping machines used for packaging meat, and move them to the maintenance shop for the night. The floor is then washed down and cleaned. The machines are inspected the next morning and returned to the floor. Early in the morning on the day of the incident the machines had been taken from the maintenance shop and used throughout the day. While in use the power supply cord on one machine repeatedly came in contact with the edge of the rotating fiberglass spool on top, wearing a small hole through the outer cover of the flexible cord and through the insulation on one of the inner conductors. The floor was wet from both the brine solution used in the packing operation and from water used periodically throughout the day to clean the area. The victim entered the room to unplug and move the strapping machine to the maintenance shop. He was wearing a damp pair of worn leather work boots and was standing in water when he reached out to unplug the machine. As he grasped the male plug, the ring finger on his right hand made contact with the damaged section of the cable and the bare 277 volt conductor. It was recommended that permanent fixed wiring be used wherever possible, and that strain relief be provided where connections on power cords are subject to being pulled apart.
NIOSH-Author; FACE-89-19; Region-3; Meat-packing-industry; Electrical-hazards; Accident-analysis; Safety-practices; Electrical-shock; Maintenance-workers
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Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
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National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division